The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Central Park Kicks Off $300M Fundraiser for Crumbling Infrastructure

By Shaye Weaver | July 15, 2016 3:03pm | Updated on July 18, 2016 8:54am
 Belvedere Castle in Central Park needs major upgrades, according to the Central Park Conservancy.
Belvedere Castle in Central Park needs major upgrades, according to the Central Park Conservancy.
View Full Caption

CENTRAL PARK – New York’s most iconic park may be beautiful and verdant, but behind the scenes it needs a lot of work to keep it that way with roughly 42 million annual visitors.

That’s why on Wednesday, the Central Park Conservancy kicked off a 10-year, $300 million fundraising campaign called “Forever Green: Ensuring the Future of Central Park.”

With help from private donations, the conservancy will be able to refurbish its playgrounds, historical structures and better preserve its landscapes and woodlands as its original architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux envisioned, according to park officials.

The Naumburg Bandshell, where a number of free concerts are held, needs a new stage, façade and an upgrade of its infrastructure, and a number of bridges, arches and waterways need to be given a facelift, the conservancy told the New York Times this week.

When it rains, it pours inside Belvedere Castle, Doug Blonsky, the conservancy's president and CEO said.

The money will not only fund the restoration of the castle, but also the Children’s District of Central Park, which includes the Diary and Kinderberg and the Chess and Checkers House, a conservancy spokeswoman said.

So far, $112 million has been raised, $25 million of which was a gift from the Thompson Family Foundation for the legacy of Wade Thompson, who responsible for reviving the Airstream brand.

Already the organization has finished the restoration of the General William Tecumseh Sherman monument at Grand Army Plaza, path reconstruction at Rumsey Playfield and improved accessibility at the East 64th Street entrance, the spokeswoman said.

It has also begun the restoration of the North Woods, the Ramble and the Hallett Nature Sanctuary, the King Jagiello monument, the rustic structures along the lake shoreline, and is planning work on the Conservancy Garden and the Naumburg Bandshell.

Since 1980, the Central Park Conservancy has managed and maintained the park under a contract with New York City and raises 75 percent of the funds needed to run the park, and has invested nearly $1 billion to date, according to conservancy officials.

“With decades of essential Conservancy investment in the Park and its once-severely decayed infrastructure, we believe the time is right for a cultural renaissance for Central Park,” Blonsky said in a statement. “As urban density continues to increase rapidly, and urban parks become even more crucial to healthy urban life, this next major step for Central Park reflects the original, enduring reason for the creation of Central Park in the center of the City, for all New Yorkers, more than 150 years ago.”

For more information on how to donate contact jmcintosh@centralparknyc.org.